Maran forced me to sell, says former Aircel owner
Entrepreneur C Sivasankaran has told the CBI that Dayanidhi Maran’s policies as telecom minister forced him to sell his company Aircel to Malaysian firm Maxis. Rajesh Ahuja reports.delhi Updated: Jun 06, 2011 23:43 IST
Entrepreneur C Sivasankaran has told the CBI that Dayanidhi Maran’s policies as telecom minister forced him to sell his company Aircel to Malaysian firm Maxis. The Maran family and Maxis owner T Ananda Krishnan have had close business links for years as reported last week by Hindustan Times.
“Sivasankaran alleged that he was left with no option but to sell Aircel,” said a CBI source. His statement was recorded at an undisclosed location in the Capital, apparently to avoid the media, the source said.
According to sources, after his statement on Monday, Sivasankaran emerged as a key witness against Maran.
“Now we’ll tally his statement with the records of telecom ministry to see if his allegations match with the documents or not. After examining his statement, we will take a decision to call other stakeholders in the matter,” a senior CBI officer said.
According to sources, Sivasankaran alleged that he was forced to sell Aircel since the telecom ministry was delaying licences it had applied for. The Justice Patil probe into the spectrum scam has said the delays were due to irrelevant and frivolous queries by bureaucrats.
This was Sivasankaran’s second meeting with the CBI sleuths with regard to the probe into Aircel-Maxis deal, part of a preliminary enquiry (PE) registered to look into the implementation of telecom policy between 2001 and 2007.
HT had first reported, on February 14, that Maxis's sister concern Astro got approval for investing $150 million in the Maran family-owned Sun Direct TV within four months of grant of licences to the Dishnet Wireless Limited (DWL). Dishnet was a sister concern of Aircel and both the companies merged later on.
DWL had applied for licences to operate services in eight circles. The licences were granted only after the change of ownership of Dishnet/Aircel.
The CBI is looking into the circumstances leading to the Aircel-Maxis deal and what role, if any, played by the then telecom minister and now textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran.